Operation Encounter provides adventurous outdoor experiences for students that are educational, challenging and fun!
Lasting from 1 to 5 days or more, our experienced ex-military and adventure training instructors run land and water based activities. Students challenge themselves with raft building, kayaking, obstacle course, team challenges, bush craft and other activities, all underpinned by British military values such as selfless commitment, teamwork and integrity.
Students are encouraged to develop their leadership, teamwork, communication and resilience in a supportive but challenging outdoor environment.
Located near Marlow in Buckinghamshire, our 125 acre site includes woods, lakes and a fully-equipped campsite with toilets, showers and a commercial kitchen. Our site also links directly to the River Thames. We're close to major motorways and less than an hour from central London, Oxford and Reading.
Operation Encounter is also a Phase 1 Delivery Partner for the National Citizen Service (NCS). Over 2,500 young people from across the UK completed a 5 day experience with us in 2019.
Operation Encounter was established by two British ex-military officers who saw an opportunity for people outside the military to learn about what makes individuals and teams so effective, and help them to understand military ethos and values.
We're passionate about working with schools and young people, and look forward to meeting you.
Outdoor learning is key for a rounded education, and it's also part of the Physical Education curriculum and wider learning outcomes for most Key Stages.
Our activities integrate a wide range of learning themes including:
- Communication (listening)
- Team work
- Personal qualities
- Confidence and character
- Problem solving
- Social and emotional resilience
We can tailor the design and delivery of experiences to suit learning objectives within your school.
All our instructors are enhanced DBS checked and have extensive experience working with young people.
Curriculum topics available: Personal development and resilience, Team building.
Teamwork is a core quality required for all of our activities and we place a strong emphasis on it throughout students' time with us. Likewise emotional, mental and physical resilience - we operate a policy called 'challenge by choice'. We strongly encourage students to push themselves and try new things to overcome their fears but we won't force them to do something they don't want to do.
Some of our activities such as the obstacle course require students to push themselves physically and mentally whilst demonstrating agility and strength. We frequently see students who don't believe they can complete the course. A short while later they are excitedly asking if they can go again to beat their previous time! They also learn that tough physical challenges can be overcome through teamwork, and that different people have different strengths.
Curriculum topics available: Teamwork and resilience.
Teamwork and resilience are core military values and therefore underpin everything we do at Operation Encounter. Whether it's building rafts, completing team challenges or racing around the obstacle course, there's a strong emphasis on working together and leveraging the strengths of individuals for the good of the team. Resilience is a key factor in students pushing themselves to do things they're not sure about in a safe and supportive environment to enable them to learn that their limits are higher than they thought they were.
Bushcraft takes place in our dedicated woodland area. Students can learn about why things are seen and how to hide themselves by breaking up their shape. They can build shelters out of natural materials and learn how to start a fire using traditional techniques. Our bushcraft sessions are both educational and fun!
We offer two water based activities on our large lake. Raft building gives students the chance to work as a team to construct a raft then see how well it floats. They'll be able to race the other teams if time allows! Canoeing provides a different challenge with a greater emphasis on learning new technical skills and safely navigating the lake. Canoes can be used individually or rafter together as a team task.
Sample activities include:
- Bush craft
- Camouflage & concealment
- Team leadership challenges
- Obstacle course
- Climbing wall
- Raft building
Minimum 12 students
Maximum 300 students
Covered outdoor classroom facilities available including a large marquee and covered learning areas in the woods.
Yes - qualified staff
Unfortunately not but most of our site is accessible and we've accommodated wheelchair users before.
Yes - experiences can be adapted to suit
"Great opportunity for a school group - challenging and fun. I took a group of 13 year old boys who had a fantastic time. They especially liked the chance to cover their faces in camo and to taste Army rations. The instructors were great and really knowledgeable, keeping the boys occupied and engaged throughout the day. Very well organised - with military precision."
-Clare Green, Durston House School
During the Spring and Autumn we offer a reduced student rate for our experiences ranging from 1 to 5 days. Please contact us if you would like to take advantage of these rates.
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